A PRE-UNIVERSITY internship stint at Spring Singapore marked the start of Ms Chan Yan Ting’s career journey with the organisation. That was in 2010 when she was attached to Spring’s Industry and Enterprise Group, which works with key industry and trade associations across various industry sectors.
The objective was to support their roles in developing capabilities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in areas such as human capital, technology adoption and internationalisation efforts.
“I was exposed to different facets of helping SMEs build capabilities and grow through the spirit of partnership and collaboration with business associations and other agencies,” she says.
It was an eye-opening experience for Ms Chan, 26, as she learnt that being enterprising does not necessarily mean having to start your own business. “It means being able to think out-of-the-box and push boundaries,” she says.
At the end of her internship, she was awarded the E.N.T.P. values (Enterprising, Nurturing, Professional, Teamplayer) Best Intern award and an opportunity to receive the Spring Singapore Executive Development Scholarship (EDS) to pursue her undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore.
“But more importantly, I was inspired by the impact of Spring’s work in enabling enterprises and their growth through the various initiatives put in place. This convinced me to be part of its exciting mandate to make business happen,” she adds.
The EDS covers up to four years of full tuition and compulsory fees; provides allowance for monthly maintenance, books and a computer; grants a hostel fee subsidy; offers support for an overseas exchange programme; and includes an internship programme with Spring. Ms Chan’s second internship at Spring was with its Quality and Excellence Group (Business and Service Excellence), which provided insights into another aspect of the organisation.
She had the opportunity to be involved in the assessment of Business Excellence certifications, acquire a good understanding of the importance and impact of the Business Excellence framework on business operations and processes, as well as broaden her knowledge of business issues.
“I also had a better appreciation of the complexities of policymaking and how decisions have far-reaching impact on local businesses and the entrepreneurship ecosystem,” she says, adding that events such as informal get-togethers as well as dialogue and networking sessions with both senior management and industry partners brought fellow scholars together.
After her graduation in 2014, Ms Chan started work at Spring’s Human Resources and Organisation Development division in the Talent Acquisition and Organisation Development department, where she is now a manager.
The knowledge and exposure that she has gained thus far has been a tremendous help in her current role, which requires her to work closely with other divisions overseeing the various industry groups, in order to support them in human resource, organisation development and change management matters.
She says: “The learning curve is steep, but it has definitely helped to hone my business acumen and people skills. “I’m energised by the opportunities to learn within the organisation, and hope to be able to manage effective teams in the future.”
With Spring’s strong learning and development infrastructure in place, officers grow and develop, with opportunities for rotations to another function within the organisation and secondments to an industry partner or SME for value-added exposure.
Seize the day
Ms Chan advises scholarship applicants to seize the day to pave the way for their success.
She quotes Edward de Bono, an inventor, psychology, author and physician, who said “If you wait for opportunities to occur, you will be one of the crowd”, and encourages them to pursue knowledge relentlessly and look for new challenges to push themselves beyond their comfort zone.
“Aspiring scholars should try to speak to current scholars to find out about the various roles and culture of respective organisations, or take on internships to identify their area of interest,” she says.
Looking back, Ms Chan feels that her internship opportunities with Spring have certainly helped her understand the work of the organisation better.
“During the selection rounds, be yourself while sharing your insights and perspective.”
“Also, be humble and open to learning from others,” she adds.